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Contract Pilot, Post 5 in a Series: "The Contract" Thumbnail

Contract Pilot, Post 5 in a Series: "The Contract"

DISCLAIMER: X Vector, Ltd. does not provide legal advice and has no licensed attorneys on staff.  Please consult with a licensed legal professional for your specific situation.

Contract Pilot checklist:

  1.  Decide to go freelance...............................Confirmed
  2.  Draft a Business Plan..................................Initiated
  3.  Construct your business.............................Model built
  4.  Risk .............................................................Managed
  5.  Contract......................................................"I don't even know how to read my cable bill!"

     According to Black's Law Dictionary (2nd edition), a contract is defined as: "...An agreement, upon sufficient consideration, to do or not to do a particular thing. "

     Please note the disclaimer above....I have no legal training and this is not intended to be legal advice.  The intent is simply to highlight some elements that you may want to consider while operating as a pilot on a contract/freelance basis.  I was fortunate enough to consult with Jason Woltman, an attorney in California (and active corporate pilot) on some of the big picture aspects of what to look for when you're looking for work.

     As a lay person, the definition above seems a little wordy to me.  Jason translated it for me to mean "a meeting of the minds", which made sense.  From a business standpoint, it is simply a way to manage expectations for both the pilot, and the employing operator.  So here are some items you may want to consider:

"BOILER PLATE" = BAD!

     There are many online and brick-and-mortar "legal forms" services available.  But do you want to trust your livelihood to a cookie-cutter template?  There's a reason professionals in the legal profession have to go to law school and pass a bar exam to practice their craft.  They know things.

     Laws in the U.S. are state-specific.  So while there may be commonalities between contracts written in Maryland or California, there may be a catch or a difference which could make each null in certain situations.  However, once you've drafted the first contract with a particular operator using competent legal advice, you may be able to just update pertinent items for future work.  You should consult a licensed attorney to assist in drafting your contract to work as a freelance pilot.

USEFUL ELEMENTS?

     What does "right" look like when drafting/negotiating a contract?  My favorite response from lawyers....."it depends."  I have to begrudgingly concede, it does.

     Here are some items which may be important (did I mention I'm not a lawyer, so these definitions are my simplistic understanding....hire a lawyer for your jobs.)

  • Choice of forum: where things will get handled if things go awry.
  • Negligence waiver: in addition to risk mitigation (see post on RISK), was carelessness why something went wrong?
  • Attorney's fees: who pays what if something goes wrong
  • Terms of payment for services: "Show me the money!"....paid in advance?, paid net 30, 60, 90 (days after engine shutdown)?...who pays for lunch, and how (company credit card, personal with reimbursement, etc.)?

     The scope of this post is in no way comprehensive enough to cover all that needs to be written, and how, in your contract.  It's worth the cost; did I mention?....hire a lawyer!

Josh Flatley, CFP®, is a financial planner in Reno, Nevada.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

1. <a href="https://thelawdictionary.org/contract/" title="CONTRACT">CONTRACT</a>

Featured image courtesy: https://pixabay.com/photos/gavel-auction-law-hammer-symbol-2492011/